January 7, 2022
Dear Frenchly Readers,
There’s a lot going on: Covid is raging, the planet is in crisis, and our worldwide democracies are evermore at risk. In France, social media has been buzzing with a quote from President Emmanuel Macron who said, on Wednesday, essentially, that he wants to cover unvaxxed people with large piles of, ahem, er, smelly dung. Or something like that. Anyway, he said he wants to emmerder them.
Our new staff writer, Angelika Pokovba, and I were so interested in this spectacle, and also particularly thrilled by comedian Paul Taylor’s hilarious breakdown of the definition of emmerder, that we penned this short piece on Wednesday night with the classy title, “Did President Macron Take a Shit on France’s Unvaxxed?”
Our boss, Emmanuel, tolerated our efforts with humor, if not exactly an endorsement. In short, we got to be naughty in the polite French sandbox and enjoy the President’s bluntness. Perhaps, as Americans, we’re a bit less shocked by inflammatory Presidential language since Trump. And let’s face it: Macron is no Trump. As Americans gazing abroad to France from within our much less vaxxed country (90% of French people 12 and up are vaxxed), we can’t help but think…well…..yeah.
Today is my older son’s birthday. He turns 13 and starts teenage-dom, manhood, well something grown up and TALL and deep-voiced, whatever it is. It’s also my late grandmother, Dorothy Ryan Hand’s birthday. If she were still alive, she’d be 111. I don’t remember her very well. But I do remember the feeling of her presence as warm and I remember feeling safe with her and that she loved me. Thirteen years ago, in a hospital in Santa Monica California, my birthday boy was two days late and he came out at 10:58 PM, just in time to share her birthday–that means something to me.
It’s snowing here today—huge flakes cascading to the ground and there’s no school. We won’t celebrate with a Galette des Rois, like the ones you can find here on Frenchly, including how to make your own. But every year we make a ricotta and chocolate mousse that a lovely old grandmère named Graciela once made for us when we were traveling in Italy and staying in a 12-century castle in Siena, Italy. Back then, my now-big-guy was four years old and he was an only child. I’ll stick 13 candles in it and we’ll sing “Happy Birthday” as the snow settles over the pine trees that surround our house.
Speaking of castles, check out these wonderful air bnbs with history we’ve got on our site this week—a castle, Julia Child’s cottage, Jacques Prévert’s home, and an organic farm/manor.
We’ve also got this great write up about a Frenchly’s writer’s new book called, An Insider’s Guide to Provence; a review of the second season of Emily in Paris; a list of books to dive into this winter; a review of a new French documentary about searching for an elusive snow leopard; a funny video about what Americans know about the region of Bordeaux; and a tour de France in the footsteps of great French artists.
I don’t know about you, but this Dorie Greenspan lemon poppy seed cake is calling to me this weekend. Our writer Philip Ruskin did a great interview with her last fall, here. She lives in Paris part of the year.
I have been checking sundown times and we are gaining a minute every evening. And the sunsets, where I am anyway, have been gorgeous this week. I love the extra light.
Have a wonderful winter day! We’ll be back next week with more.